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What Your Bartenders are Drinking for Brunch

What Your Bartenders are Drinking for Brunch

Gabe Low, mixing drinks at Locanda. photo by Eva Frye

Tired of the standard mimosa on the weekends? Needing daytime libation inspiration? Not to worry, a few of our city's finest bartenders are here to the rescue. We've asked them to whip up their favorite daytime drinks to set your spirits straight. Bottoms up!

Locanda's Gabe Lowe

"Brunch, a lot of the time, means waking up early to combat a fierce hangover. Best way to beat it? Don't let it catch you. My buddy Ed runs a huge camp at Burning Man. While bartending a party for him I gussied up his tequila/espresso morning miracle cure."

Recipe: "Tired Ed"

- 2 oz Fortaleza Reposado
- 1 oz espresso
- 3/4 oz Lazzaroni amaretto
- 1/4 oz Small Hands gomme

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake your ass off. Pour into a coupe, microplane a little espresso bean on top and add an orange twist. One of these will set you right. Two will have you ready to party again.

photo by Eva Frye

15 Romolo's Ben Smith

"When I'm looking for a great brunch cocktail, I want something that's got a little kick, but not so much that it gives me a horrific flashback from the night before- just a little something to clear the fog. As with any other cocktail, I want something that is balanced and tasty. I think something like this may do the trick."

Recipe: "Driving Ms. Daisy"

- 1 1/2 oz Germain Robin cognac
- 1/2 oz Orchard Apricot liquor
- 1/2 oz Dolin dry vermouth
- 1/4 oz Velvet Falernum
- 1/4 oz Lillet
- 2 dashes Angostura orange bitters
- 1 dash St. George absinthe

Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain off into a wine glass with one large cube. Garnish with a mint leaf.

Elixir's H. Joseph Ehrmann

"The combination of flavors is unique and summery, with the rich color of fresh berries and a gorgeous flower garnish to turn heads in the room. I love to put sours with egg whites on brunch menus as the texture is soothing and you get your morning protein, but with the addition of earl grey tea as the base of the syrup, this cocktail is a no brainer as a 'corpse reviver.'"

Recipe: "Zapotec Sour"

- 1 1/2 oz Del Maguey Vida Mezcal
- 1/2 oz Earl Grey tea syrup
- 1/2 oz lime juice
-  4 blackberries (or 1oz Perfect Puree blackberry puree)
- 3/4 oz egg whites
- Edible flower garnish

In a mixing glass, add blackberries and muddle well. Add remaining ingredients and dry shake for 10 seconds, fill with ice and shake well for 10 seconds, double strain up, and garnish with an edible flower.

photo from here

Outerlands's Dave Muller

"Before we opened Outerlands, we used to make this cider on foggy weekends at home. A steaming mug still recalls cozy breakfasts with friends in our living room, and we love bringing that feeling to brunch, with that little kick of whiskey to take the edge off on an early Sunday morning. The cider pairs nicely with our dutch pancake, another favorite we would serve at home."

Recipe: "Ginger Lemon Apple Cider with Bourbon"

- Fresh apple juice (cider, not from concentrate)
- Fresh ginger
- Star anise
- Cinnamon sticks
- Bay leaf
- Lemon

This recipe is designed to be adjusted per the taste of the creator. The bulk of it is apple juice, which for best results should be a high quality product, fresh and local, available at the farmers market. The quantities of the remaining ingredients can fluctuate depending on the intensity of the ginger and acidity of the lemons.

Blend chopped and peeled ginger in a high-power blender with water until liquid (use just enough water to keep the blender from bogging down). Strain through a chinois, pressing all juice out until pulp is dry. Reserve juice in a container.  Toast cinnamon and anise for a few minutes to release aromatics, and add with bay leaf to cold juice in a pot. Bring apple juice with spices to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Add ginger juice to desired spiciness and turn off heat. Steep for 10 minutes and strain through chinois. Keep warm on the stove or in an airpot, add 2 oz bourbon per 12 oz serving and squeeze 1/8-1/4 lemon wedge to serve.


photo by Eva Frye

AQ's Rachel Leiderman

"Nostalgia brings everyone's minds back to a more simple time in their lives. We all want to escape our hectic daily responsibilities, even if just for a moment, hence the Julius. As a drink, the egg-whites are a classic breakfast cocktail component, meant to help correct any alcoholic overindulgence from the evening before, as the Angostura bitters' historic ability to cure any ailment works it's magic. The citrus component to wake up the mind and palate, and the cream to help settle the stomach and soften the more spirituous edges of the drink."

Recipe: "Summer Julius"

- 1 1/4 oz Haymans Old Tom gin
- 1 oz orange juice
- 1/2 oz lime juice
- 1/4 oz simple syrup
- 1/2 oz dry curacao
- 1 dash angostura bitters
- 2 dashes vanilla tincture (substitute vanilla extract to taste)
- the white of an egg
- 1/2 oz half and half

Combine all ingredients in a tin, shake well. Add ice, shake again. Pour into highball glass and top with crushed ice.  


photo by Eva Frye


15 Romolo's Matt Fleeger

"My favorite cocktail for brunch is the 'Jerez My Mind.' It is a refreshing combination of rich cream sherry, blanc vermouth, Carpano Antica, a little Angostura Orange bitters, and garnished with a lemon twist. I believe this to be the best brunch cocktail for a few reasons. The first reason it is absolutely delicious. The second criteria for a perfect mid day tipple, it is not an assault to your palate; a nice smooth drink that can deliver great flavor without overpowering your senses. Thirdly, it is a low ABV libation, perfect for getting an early start whilst allowing for a sustained run that keeps your dignity in tow and senses in tact. Lastly, the Jerez My Mind is the perfect brunch cocktail because of its versatility. The rich flavor satisfies during a brisk windy day and the subtle citrus notes and lower ABV keep one refreshed during a warm sunny day. Hmmm, I'm getting thirsty…"

Recipe: "Jerez My Mind"

- 1 1/2 oz Pemartin rich cream sherry
- 1 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
- 1/2 oz Carpano Antica
- 1 dash Angostura orange bitters

Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain off into a bistro glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Maven's Kate Bolton

"My favorite brunch cocktail has to be a 'Death in the Afternoon.' Named by Ernest Hemingway, who also wrote the book "Death in the Afternoon" (about the fine art of bullfighting), it is a cocktail involving absinthe and champagne. He notoriously drank this cocktail after a bout of nautical nauseousness and recommends 1 1/2 ounces of absinthe with 4 ounces of chilled champagne, and to drink "3 to 5 of these slowly." While I might only recommend drinking one of these potent elixirs, this recipe has been updated for the modern palate by reducing the absinthe."

Recipe: "Death in the Afternoon"

We make a version of the drink using absinthe sorbet. We create the sorbet using a base of absinthe, tarragon tea, lemon, lime and sugar. Then we spin it in a pacojet (or an ice cream maker) until frozen. The cocktail is served with a scoop of the sorbet and sparkling wine is poured over the top, tableside.  Now that you could have 3 to 5 of!

Thanks to our friendly mixologists for playing along! Note that all of these restaurants serve a fine brunch, save for Locanda and Elixir.

Now–what kind of cocktail do you order midday?